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Food & flowerpots - Apr 24

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Shops ration sales of rice as US buyers panic

Staff, Guardian
The global food crisis reached the United States yesterday as big retailers began to ration sales of rice in response to bulk purchases by customers alarmed by rocketing prices of staples.

Wal-Mart's cash and carry division, Sam's Club, announced it would sell a maximum of four bags of rice per person to prevent supplies from running short. Its decision followed sporadic caps placed on purchases of rice and flour by some store managers at a rival bulk chain, Costco, in parts of California.

The world price of rice has risen 68% since the start of 2008, but in some US shops the price has doubled in weeks.
(24 April 2008)

Are Bill and Ben trashing the planet?

Lucy Siegle, The Observer
Flowerpot men sell us 500 million plastic containers every year, says Lucy Siegle, most of which end up in landfill
The horticultural industry has its own overpackaging problem - common or garden plant pots, spewing out of sheds and littering paths until they eventually get chucked into landfill. We get through some 500m each year in the UK.

It's an inglorious secret for a supposedly green industry. RHS environmental advisor Rebecca Matthews-Joyce points out that 'from an environmental perspective, the true beauty of a plant is its ability to replenish itself without a scrap of waste being generated ... Gardeners, however, are piling up a problem for the future, a plastic-pot mountain that won't rot away.'
(20 April 2008)

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